Veterans want 14 shrines, quotas, more cash

02 July 2018 | Government

The Namibia National Liberations Veterans Association (NNLVA) has requested that its members be among those prioritised for fishing rights.

It also wants the N$1 million annual grant given to the NNLVA by government increased, saying this would help the association to advance its interests.

The association also called for Heroes' Acre-like shrines to be constructed in all 14 regions and that more honorary medals be conferred on their members annually.

Recently elected NNLVA president Ben Shikongo made these requests during a courtesy call at State House last week, where the organisation met with President Hage Geingob.

Motivating the desire for fishing rights, he said the association had been approached by suitors, who were keen to partner with it.

“On the issue of fishing rights, we also want to apply for fishing rights. We have been approached by those with vessels. Once we get these fishing rights we will approach [the said suitors],” said Shikongo.

The fisheries ministry recently announced that only Propriety Limited (Pty) Ltd companies would be allowed to apply for fishing rights.

This was a cause for concern for Shikongo, who said the association was very keen to apply.

“The change to (Pty) Ltd will have negative consequences.”

Fisheries minister Bernhardt Esau, however, tried to allay Shikongo's concerns and said the changes in the application criteria would benefit a large number of people.

“On the issue of fishing rights, I am taking note. There will be an evaluation committee, there will be criteria,” said Esau.

According to him, nationality, ownership of companies and ownership of vessels are some of the things his ministry will look at.

According to Esau, in the past veterans were given token shares instead of significant shareholding and the change of requirements would allow them to benefit.

“It is in that context that we said people must not be given token shares, but significant shares,” said Esau.

The veterans also requested a bigger grant from government, saying the N$1 million it received was a “drop in the ocean”.

The money paid to the association is divided amongst all 14 regions, for the benefit of all veterans.

The association, which recently acquired two abattoirs in the north, also hoped the contentious red line could be removed.

The association recently took ownership of the Eenhana and Outapi abattoirs.

“We have acquired two abattoirs and established a company,” said Shikongo, who asked Geingob whether the red line could be done away with.

“Maybe soon this situation can be uplifted so that we are free to sell to the whole country. We are financially handicapped,” Shikongo said.

Geingob informed Shikongo the removal of the red line could mean that Namibia would lose access to markets in the European Union and the United States.

He, however, agreed that the request was fair, saying ambassadors posted here from those countries were eating meat from cattle that came from the Northern Communal Areas.

The NNLVA currently has 30 000 registered veterans, while only 5 000 are said to be active, paying members.


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